Letters to the Editor

State has no business regulating island beaches

Our state policy of gradual retreat from the ocean is an example of excessive legislation.

Retreat may make sense for undeveloped areas, such as Hunting Island, but it does not make economic sense for areas with existing valuable infrastructure, such as Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach.

The criterion should be: Will renourishment create significantly greater value or save significantly greater loss than the cost? Clearly, entities that benefit from the value of the improved property, including the taxes that it generates, should pay the cost of renourishing and protection.

The ocean covers 71 percent of our planet's surface, with an average depth of 2.4 miles. The land is continuously eroded into the ocean and into rivers flowing to the ocean. If it were not for recycling by tectonic plates and volcanoes, our planet already would be 100 percent covered with water. So the environment does not benefit by creating more ocean.

Some countries, such as the Netherlands, Singapore and Japan, have public programs to reclaim land from the ocean. Are these people evil or stupid? Neither. They have determined that the value of the recovered land is greater than the cost to recover it.

Our state government has decided we should "retreat" to a line where the ocean is projected to be in 40 years. Why not draw the line where the water is today, or where it was 20 years ago?

The state faces many serious issues that need urgent attention. Regulating Hilton Head's beaches is not one of them. This seems like a good area for our new governor to cut state expenses.

Tom TomfohrdeHilton Head Island

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